Lennart Cramer

5 project management trends to watch in 2018

Project management is changing – as the companies’ challenges are changing. In 2018, there are five project management trends to be aware of.

Trend 1: Growing number of PMOs and EPMOs

Over the last 10 years, the relevance of PMO in the organization has grown tremendously. PMI’s 2017 Pulse of the Profession reports that half of the organizations with a PMO have also set up an enterprise-wide project management office (EMPO).

EPMOs provide enterprise-wide standardization and support on governance, documents, tools and processes. In addition, strategic EPMOs make sure that projects being done across the organization are in line with the company strategy. According to PMI’s 2017 Pulse of the Profession 38% more projects meet their original goals and business intent and 33% fewer projects are deemed failures when organizations align their EPMO with the company strategy.

With these results, it comes as no surprise that more organizations are starting to develop strategic EPMOs to increase project success.

Trend 2: More emphasis on Soft Skills

Although technical skills and certificates are still very valuable for project success, emphasis on soft skills such as effective communication and interaction with team members is increasing.

The fact is that when people are working together, conflict will always occur. A project manager with the ability to build good relationships, deal with conflict and manage virtual teams, will create an environment in which team members want to work with and for each other. Such solidarity between team members ensures a foundation of successful project management and project delivery.

In 2018 recruiters are therefore looking for candidates who combine high emotional intelligence with strong project management skills.

Trend 3: The use of Tools and Analytics

The use of tools and analytics is nowadays a ‘must’, and project management does not lag behind. Where it was previously seen as a ‘nice to have’ project teams now see the need for tools and analytics for improving project and team performance.

They help to identify which projects meet the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and make it possible to inform stakeholders about project progress. In addition, tools and analytics make the processing of data easier, they make strategic decision making possible and they facilitate automated calculations for identifying project trends and potential risks. Tools and analytics also offer predictive possibilities about how, for example, a small shift in focus can influence the outcomes of the project.

In 2018, more companies will use the many possibilities of tools and analytics to get projects moving in the right direction and help improve future execution of projects.

Trend 4: Hybrid methodology expertise and Agility

Agile methods have been increasingly used in 2017 to manage rising uncertainty due to rapidly changing customer needs and technological developments. In 2018 people are increasingly looking for information about hybrid methodologies and Agility – a combination of different techniques instead of fully complying with one methodology. For example, a PRINCE2 managed project team using MoSCoW prioritization to ensure flexibility. Or Agile developments such as Scrum, Kanban and Lean using portfolio management to increase clarity and structure.

The most effective approach varies per organization and project. This means that it is becoming more and more important for project managers to decide which method or combination of methodologies is needed to achieve the desired result. Project managers are therefore expected to develop agility with regard to the project approach.

Trend 5: Increasing popularity of Remote Project Management

Remote project management has increasingly popular, both among employers and employees. Millennials in particular value a good balance between their work and private life, the possibility to organize their own working hours and work in different locations.

In 2030 millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce. In addition, there are more and more tools to work remotely. This means that it is increasingly important for employers to meet the wishes and needs of this group to stay competitive. On the other hand, more employers see the benefits of this new way of working, such as decreasing absenteeism and higher employee satisfaction.

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